How many times have you asked your students a question, received a verbal response, then you follow up by "How do you support your answer?" or "Why do you think that?" or "Do you have any supporting information?"
This type of questioning requires some higher level thinking. At the beginning of the year, when I would propose this type of questioning to my second grade friends, I would receive nonverbal responses of shoulder shrugging or looking over my shoulder into the wild blue yonder- avoiding any eye contact with me hoping I would move on to someone else. Or verbal responses of "Because!" or "I don't know." and even "Uh-Uh!"
We have come a long way baby. Those days are over. After a lot of practice, we have reversed our weakness of questioning and justifying to somewhat of a strength. Yay~ My students are even better at questioning than I am. So I must be doing something right. A few of my students are truly destined to be lawyers. I literally have to ring the bell sometimes to bring the questioning and justifying to a halt.
The following is a follow up activity for our third quarter read aloud- Charlotte's Web. The students were given four main characters from the story. In turn, they were asked to use a character trait to describe the character and an example or evidence from the novel to support their thinking. We listed the responses on chart paper. Overall, I think they fared well.
We also used TLC Art to create Wilbur, the Pig. I love TLC Art. If you haven't tried it, you're missing a treat.